The Eye Rolling Soapbox of Facebook

I have a feeling of nostalgia when I look at the Facebook App on my phone.  It makes me think of the wonderful environment of interaction that Facebook offers; The ability to reacquaint and keep in touch with friends and family that are not in my locale.  Those days seem to be gone and have been replaced by the seemingly endless tirade of shared videos in the same spirit of Gaston rousing support to ‘kill the Beast!

It seems that everyone is very busy being offended.  In this light, I want to share with you a tongue-in-cheek way to be offended:


-Advertisement not endorsed by this blog may follow this post-

A Parable by Útmutató a Léleknek – Do you believe in Mother?

This is a parable I stumbled upon written by Útmutató a Léleknek:

In a mother’s womb were two babies.  One asked the other: “Do you believe in life after delivery?”. 

“Why of course.  There has to be something after delivery.  Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves for what we will be later.” 

“Nonsense” said the first.  “There is no life after delivery.  What kind of life would that be?” 

The second said, “I don’t know, but there will be more light than here.  Maybe we will walk with our legs and eat from our mouths.  Maybe we will have other senses that we can’t understand now”. 

The first replied, “That is absurd.  Walking is impossible and eating with our mouths?  Ridiculous!  The umbilical cord supplies nutrition and everything we need.  Because the umbilical cord is so short, life after delivery is logically impossible.” 

The second baby insists, “Well, I think there is something and maybe it’s different than it is here.  Maybe we won’t need this physical cord anymore”. 

The first replied, “Nonsense.  And moreover, if there is life, then why has no one ever come back from there?  Delivery is the end of life, and in the after-delivery there is nothing but darkness and silence and oblivion.  It delivers us nowhere.” 

“Well, I don’t know,” said the second, “but certainly we will meet Mother and she will take care of us.” 

The first replied, “Mother?  You actually believe in Mother?  That’s laughable.  If Mother exists then where is she now?” 

The second said, “She is all around us.  We are surrounded by Her.  We are of Her.  It is in Her that we live.  Without Her this world would not and could not exist for us.”

Said the first: “Well, I don’t see Her, so it is only logical that She doesn’t exist.”.

To which the second replied, “Sometimes, when you’re in silence-and you focus-and you really listen-you CAN perceive Her presence and you CAN hear Her loving voice, calling down from above.” 

-Advertisement not endorsed by this blog may follow this post-

That’s a baby!

“There’s a baby in your belly!” Our two oldest shouted with joy as they ran over to my wife. They were simply mesmerized by the ultrasound’s image displayed on the large screen above them.  We told them to count the toes and fingers, which they giggled as they tried in vain to count as the baby wiggled and squirmed in the womb.

The measurements taken by the radiologist suggested an age of 14-15 weeks into my wife’s pregnancy.  As the radiologist continued to make observations, measurements, and document the images the ever-moving picture the screen captured all of our attention.

“When will the baby come out?” Asked our 4-year-old daughter.

“Not for a bit.  The baby needs a lot of special nourishment in mommy’s belly still,” said my wife.

This was the first time we have had the luxury of a level 2 ultrasound which features tremendous resolution as compared to standard ultrasounds.  What fine details and features we could observe and see of the little one!(1) 

Nevertheless, how is that children can immediately recognize the fact that this is a living child inside the womb of their mother while so many adults in our world seem to wish to remain deaf to the beating of that child’s heart?

This brings to mind the novel Ender’s Game when Ender realizes that he wasn’t playing a game rather he had just committed genocide, eradicating an entire species, and that had been making life-ending decisions.  Prior to that moment, Ender was led to believe he was only playing a game. The reality of the situation crippled him and led him to despair.

Let us not be hoodwinked into believing this is a game, that there is no life inside that womb, that it is just tissue, or more importantly that none of us are involved.


(1) Radiology and the subsequent inverse imaging “problem” has made revolutionary strides over the last decade, in large part to our understanding of inverse-scattering techniques. In other words, applied mathematics!  


-Advertisement not endorsed by this blog may follow this post-

The Design of Mathematics

In large part the study of mathematics relies on the definitions put forth and what may be sowed from their birth.  A mathematician is an artist that carefully weaves mathematical theory from the underlying definitions.  Hence, mathematics becomes similar to a language where we have certain rules that must be followed in order to construct comprehensive, precise, and unambiguous statements.

A mathematician can not simply state that a particular number is positive while treating it as a negative number.  They must follow certain rules regardless of their likes or dislikes.  For instance, in general, (x+y)^2 is not x^2 + y^2, much to the chagrin of many students!

The axioms of mathematics provide the backbone that all mathematics flows from.  I marvel at the incredible utility and ubiquity of mathematics in all areas of science.  I hope you share that sentiment. Nevertheless, why does mathematics work so well? Why is it so reliable in its descriptions?  Why is the universal language mathematics? In other words, why is the universe so darn mathematical?

My children love playing with legos, just as I did as a child (still do!). They love to build and create.  Ships, houses, vehicles, etc.  Mathematics is analogous to legos, in that, we build and create.  Indeed, both were created.  However, were both created by man?

-Advertisement not endorsed by this blog may follow this post-

Into the Tunnel and Out Toward the Light

A man was preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a public audience.  A fellow in the audience passed a note to the speaker inviting him to a debate that Friday.  It was read to the audience and the invitation was accepted on one condition:

I want for you to bring along one person, who in their greatest despair, riddled with addiction, crippled by society, that through embracing atheism brought about a dramatic change and radically transformed them for the good.  Just bring one.  I shall bring 200.

This a wonderful video that offers a transparent view into a life adopting a secular worldview. I find too much in common to list here.


–Advertisement not endorsed by this website may follow this post—


The table is set before you
As you are guided to your seat.
The invigorating aroma of delightful food
Oh, how excited you are to eat!
The table is set formally,
But you frown as you have not dressed as such
Will you be given the same food?
Or just not quite as much?

You look around at some of the guests
With their façade of makeup and coverings
As pigs with pearls in their snouts
You know you aren’t as becoming.
Will you be moved to another seat, yet another place?
Is this seat a mistake?
Isn’t your place with the dogs
Who beg for food from plates?

However, you do not fear
For you know the owner of this table!
He does not play favorites, He loves us all
And welcomes the willing and able.
For He gave you a ticket,
An invitation,
To come to His majestic table.
And that ticket is your justification
So that you will not be mislabeled.

How many are here without a ticket?
Do they not know the hour is coming?
Or are they deaf to reason and logic
That this table did not come from nothing!

Oh, you try to bridge a conversation
To a person without a ticket
They respond,  “Oh, gosh! You are antiquated!
There will not be any condemnation!”
How do you know and are you sure?
That is what you ask
They respond, “Because there are no rights or wrongs!
It is just cultures that make moral statements.”
You ask, for which culture is forward, which one is backward?
Which one is going the right way?
They scowl and turn their face
And then tell you to go away.

Then the overhead light flickers
The owner has come home!
Some guests seem not to even notice
The majesty of His throne.
Nothing we do compares to His holiness
No grandiose coverings will due
For the Lord knows the depths
Of our moral turpitude.
So the meal is set before you,
It is the Passover lamb
Your invitation then turns to blood
And you know that you can stand.

But for those who are at the table
Sitting in their relativistic worldview stance
What will they say to the owner?
Are they willing to take that chance?


–Advertisement not endorsed by this website may follow this post—

On A Mission

John Wesley throughout his life preached upwards of 40,000 sermons!  If he had only preached on Sunday mornings that would have taken roughly 769 years!  Of course, he did not live that long.  He lived shy of 88 years and his ministry covered 53 years.  That means he preached approximately 2 sermons a day!  Every day.  At the age of 83 he became angry with his doctor.  His doctor had suggested that John should not preach more than 14 times a week.  Maybe he should be slowing down, and at the age of 86 he penned in his diary that he worried that he was:

“Laziness is slowing creeping in.  There is an increasing tendency to stay in bed after 5:30 in the morning.”

John had a passion that drove him which was instilled by his changed life brought forth by the power of Jesus Christ.  That passion was fueled by the guidance of his mother.  

As a young boy he approached his mother with the question: “What is sin?”

His mother, a godly woman, instilled a vision of sin that stayed with John for the rest of his life with these words:

“John, listen to me carefully.  Whatever weakens your reasoning, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, or takes away your relish of spiritual things, in short, if anything increases the authority and power of the flesh over the spirit that is due to become sin, however good is in itself.”


Whatever increases that authority of your flesh, ultimately will rule over your life.  You will have sold yourself short to the fleeting passions of the day that you have concocted, warped to your pleasure, and adopted into your life, rather than finding the well-spring of true life where there are pleasures evermore.


–Advertisement not endorsed by this website may follow this post—

Course Policies

New faces.  New people.  A new semester.  The summer heat begins to wane and the nights begin to feel cooler.  The swimming pools are now emptier and family schedules become busier.  This is ever true for the typical college professor.

The beginning of a semester is an enjoyable, albeit stressful, time of the year.  The first day of classes is exciting and invigorating, but it can often be dry as it focuses on the course policy and syllabus.  These combined documents are a contract between myself as their professor and them as the students.  Over the years that contract has ballooned from a one page document to a whopping seven page document! Ugh…

Many students do not read it, yet they registered to attend the class and, subsequently, are bounded to it.  It offers the vision of the course in addition to a daily schedule.  Often it will contain all the assignment details and the due dates for them.  It always contains a grading policy, that is, how they will be assessed throughout the course.  It gives classroom and university policies, such as attendance, late-work, and academic integrity policies.  I am as much bounded to the contract as they are.  It is my way of showing my cards upfront.

The document communicates to students how to be successful in the course.  It provides information about obtaining help, time-management strategies, and essential tips to be a learner in mathematics.  The success of students does not hinge on their intellect or natural mathematical ability, rather their willingness to be coached and learn.  It may require difficulty and hardship.  It may require sacrifice to obtain a greater good down the road.  It may require being uncomfortable.  It may require more time than you thought. It may require the recognition that you can not do it alone.  It may require admitting that help is necessary.  It may even require being in class regularly!

In all, it requires their attention.

For the inattentive student, how is their attention gained? Their grade in the course.  No student wants to fail a class.  They all want an A grade. In other words, when given the option, it is reasonable to assume that all students want to pass rather than fail.

God has also given a course policy that details a grading policy.  And we are all registered for His course.  It states that perfection is the only way to pass the course.  Bummer. However, later in the course policy we find that a perfect score can be awarded to you if another classmate with a perfect grade wants to switch places.  You read on and it tells you the student’s name that will do this for you.  Oddly enough the student’s name is the teacher’s name!  Would you take that offer knowing you could not simply drop the course?  What would your reaction be?



–Advertisement not endorsed by this website may follow this post—

In the moment

“I am now handing out the exams, do not start until I tell you to do so.  Please keep the exams face down.  Please remove all items except pens, pencils, or erasers,” the professor states.  The students shuffle papers away and clear their desks.  They appear anxious to begin.

“It is now 8 o’clock, you may all begin.  You have till 8:50, that is, 50 minutes.”

The students flip to the first page of the exam.  Some brows begin to sweat and furrow, a few pencils tap, some pensively stare at the ceiling, while others feverishly type on their calculators[1].  Nevertheless, there are always a collection of students that look like a seasoned runner: focused, steadfast, stressed but remaining calm, and diligently working toward the prize.  That determined look espouses confidence even if the student themselves do not feel that way!

Question: Where does that confidence come from? 

Short Answer: Preparation.

Long Answer: It stems from an investment of time learning the subtle nuances of the material.  It comes from working problems and understanding their extensions.  It comes from handling the frustrating moments of “I don’t get this” that, through hard-work, transforms into “ah-hah” moments.  Understanding often comes by the way of 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration.

This means that when the exams do come the diligent student draws from understood material.  They pull it from their banks of knowledge that have been seasoned through time and hard work.  That’s what comes to mind.  That is what brings forth an air of confidence to face the exam.

In the heat of battle or the exams of life what comes to your mind?  Vile thoughts? Empty thoughts? Despairing thoughts?  Self-righteous thoughts? Righteous thoughts? Noble thoughts? Godly thoughts?

Do you read the scriptures hastily just as a student crams for an exam?  Or do you read the scriptures with intention and diligence just as the confident student that prepares?  After all, understanding gained hastily dwindles but those that seek it diligently will increase it (Proverbs 13:11-12).

What came to mind when Stephen was about to be stoned in Acts 7?  What came to mind when the prophet Isaiah was about to be sawed in two?  What came to mind when Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were about to be thrown into the furnace?  Or Daniel prior to being thrown into the lion’s den?  Or when you are singled out for your faith in Jesus Christ?  Or the other Christian martyrs of today and yesterdays?

I can tell you what came through their mind: The hope and peace that defies all human understanding in knowing that those in Jesus will overcome death itself and are assured victory in the end (Phil 4:6, 1 Cor 15:55-58).


1. This behavior always baffles me. Especially, since I know that their particular exam doesn’t require any calculator use. I often think, “What are they typing?” This behaviour is similar to going to work on a house with a wild chain-saw when you are tasked to work on a plumbing system!



–Advertisement not endorsed by this website may follow this post—